Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Challenge Continues, Day 346: Zephaniah 2; Psalm 131; Mark 9

Being Able
What are you capable of? What could you do, what could you accomplish...where is the end of your rope? What lies past the end of your endurance?

That's a question that most of us don't often face, as least as far as we are aware. We might test our emotional limits from time to time, but unless we actively seek out spiritual, physical and mental challenges that stretch us and grow us our society nowadays allows us to remain pretty indolent. At least, that is the case for many. Most have no choice but to push their limits. The poor, the majority of humanity, face these challenges on a daily basis, while many who live further up the social food chain wind up worrying more about traffic, the line at the coffee shop and the fact that the printer isn't talking to the computer the way we want it to, today.

But there are time when we do confront our limits, when we wind up at the end of what we think we can do, what we assume that we can endure, what we would prefer to be the end of fretful worrying. That's when we wind up "going to school" in some unique and powerful ways. We enter a stage of discovery about ourselves and the world around us that brings rare gifts our way. That stage brings an awareness and appreciation of wider horizons. It brings frissons of humility and gratitude as we understand more about the world and ourselves than we did just a few moments ago. It means, once things return to "normal" that we won't quite be normal again, at least not in what we knew normal to be just moments ago.

Transfiguration is like that, whether we witness it in the Christ alongside the three chosen to join him on the mountain top, or in our own lives when God descends on us and reminds us that we are beloved, desired and honored. Healing, radical healing is like that as well. A father has borne witness to his son's fits for the whole of that young child's life. They have thrown him to the ground, into fires, into water...he has gone past his last nerve and lost faith in everything...perhaps if the Rabbi is "able?" Perhaps, the boy might be healed....And with that, Jesus gently the kingdom of God it is not about "able!" It is about that if God has been able to see humanity to its limits, beyond the same and back again time and time again, then will God do any less with him, with his son....with us?

The hard part of understanding that God is with us, even when we travel past the limit of our strength, personal resolve and faith is that there is required of us a willingness to go there with the trust in God that we will be able, that we will find out new truths about ourselves, that we will discover new ways of knowing God.

We are capable of so much more than we could ever ask or imagine...but until we are willing to go forth with God, we will never, ever know what might be, what could happen. And so, we get to the end of our rope, and what does God ask of us? One more inch, one more trusting, faithful step...once more into that moment of transfiguration.

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